CBI Case Study: Streetwear on the Small Screen

Among the many brands featured to date on the three seasons of iQiyi’s hit competition show “Rap of China,” the one that arguably benefited the most was not an official sponsor, and did not pay to have its wares placed on the series. The American streetwear label Supreme, favored by lead celebrity judge Kris Wu and contestants on the show, has gone from being a little-known name to an iconic must-have brand for young Chinese since “Rap of China” made its debut in mid-2017, fueling a broader frenzy for designer streetwear and sneakers.

The production team behind “Rap of China” is back with a hotly anticipated new show that will put streetwear and other Chinese fashion trends front and center. “Fourtry” (潮流合伙人) will star two of China’s most popular celebrities, Kris Wu (48 million Weibo followers) and Angelababy (101 million followers), and others as they attempt to operate a boutique in Tokyo’s Harajuku district, a global center of street style. The series will provide a prominent platform to showcase China’s “national tide” designers and gauge their potential for success in an overseas setting. 

“As a leader of pop-culture trends with growing influence over young audiences, iQiyi believes that ‘Fourtry,’ which has a strong focus on original Chinese designs, will provide audiences with a brand-new perspective on the diversity and inclusiveness of cultural trends and redefine the role of the Chinese pop-culture trends and influence,” said William Chan, senior vice president of iQIYI and executive producer of the series. “Fourtry” recently wrapped up shooting in Tokyo and is planned for release later this year as an iQiyi exclusive (watch a trailer below).

The celebrity managers of the “Fourtry” pop-up shop will choose from among thousands of trendy products from around the world in the store’s 24,000-square-foot stockroom as they seek to reach a 30-day revenue target of 10 million Yen ($92,000). Among the labels spotted on the show’s social media are the big-name collaboration between Puma and Balmain and indie glasses brand Gentle Monster from South Korea.  

But the brand presence on “Fourtry” will not be limited to fashion. The show’s title sponsor is mobile phone maker Vivo, a brand that has taken a very active role over the years in China’s reality programming. Its products will have a prominent placement on screen as the show’s stars use Vivo phones, and the store will include a “Vivo Look Corner” to showcase photos taken by celebrities as they run the business, capturing highlights of their experiences. In addition to Vivo, other sponsors include Lancôme, Pepsi, Ikea, Mazda, and Chivas, highlighting global brands’ recognition of the potential for a broader impact among the show’s target audience that goes far beyond fashion. 

Another major sponsor is Aomygod, an e-commmerce platform focused on high-end products from overseas. Aomygod will be authorized to sell Fourtry-branded clothing and other products, and will have the opportunity to collaborate with other fashion brand partners of the show to sell items that appear in the “Fourtry” store on screen, according to iQiyi.